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Finding Nature Through Art: Part 2

Why I Love Backpacking

By Jill Katz


Like floating in the ocean of land.

The heaviest floating in the most tranquil storm.

Delicious mouthfuls of saltwater you can’t help but swallow.

Soaking in the cold but warm wonder all around you.


To carry food and fuel and gear for days.

A heavy backpack.

Independent. Self sufficient.

My feet hurt. My knees hurt.

My back hurts. My shoulders hurt.

My eyes hurt. My head hurts.

[On the Larapinta trail in central Australia.]

I feel Strong.I feel Energized.

I feel Young. I feel Brave.

I feel Awake. I feel Alive.

[Above treeline in the Presidential Range, NH]

Smelling the wind.

Saturated by rain.

Blazed by sun.

Knee deep in snow.

[My friend here did in fact slip and slide down the slope, but she was fine.

Frenchmans Cap, Tasmania, Australia]

A slow morning to read.

An afternoon break with my feet in the stream.

[Or in the sea, Freycinet Peninsula, Tasmania, Australia]

The rush to find a good campsite by dark.

Never mind, you can make

camp in the dark.


Deep sleep.

But more likely, poor, disrupted sleep, waking up in wind and cold and I rolled off of my inflatable sleeping pad onto hard ground and jagged rocks.

So I reluctantly drag myself out of my sleeping bag to pee in the frigid night air and be watched

by every star of the Milky Way.

[A very cold night, dinner of savory oatmeal, partway up Mount Madison, NH]



[Hiking down from San Gorgonio Mountain, CA]



The water source is dry. My stove broke. My battery died. I could fall here.

I left my trekking poles a mile back.

What animal is that sniffling outside my tent?

[Easton Glacier of Mount Baker, Washington]

Gain experience. Refine skills. Sometimes a trade for memories.

Independent. Self sufficient.

Double filter the mucky water.

Tie a bowline, a butterfly, a quick trucker’s hitch.

Fix my stove and warm my hands by the flame.

[Apparently the route on the map wasn’t actually a trail.

Anza Borrego Desert State Park, CA}

Wild raspberries and blackberries and blueberries and thimbleberries.

Hot pine needle tea.

Rehydrated dehydrated refried beans. Mmmmmm.

Summit chocolate.


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